April 2011

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Tomorrow is Easter Sunday and no doubt most of Britain will be tucking into their chocolate eggs with delight and glee to celebrate the end of lent and denial. Shortly after Easter many happy easter egg eaters will feel a little uncomfortable and decide that it is now time to lose weight for the summer or that family wedding or to fit into the mini bikini sitting at the back of the cupboard.
The first thing that many people do in their desperation to lose those extra love handles is to switch from sugar to artificial sweeteners. The shelves are now full of products stuffed with artificial sweeteners with the message that now you don’t need to miss out or sacrifice taste for your waistline.
The message that artificial sweeteners are somehow good for weight loss is one that has been around since the early days of saccharine in the 60s and 50s. Unfortunately, even though it might be an old message it is a very misleading message. The truth is that these nasty concoctions of chemists are frankly a really unpleasant side of modern food production but putting aside the issue of whether anyone should be eating complex chemical concoctions there are two critical issues which most people looking to weight are not aware of.
Firstly the body is clever but it cannot recognise sugar from sweeteners when they hit the tongue. So at the moment that your tongue picks up a sweet taste it will do what the body will always do and that is send a message to the pancreas that something sweet is about to hit the blood stream. This allows the body to prepare for a sugar hit and therefore the pancreas will release a shot of insulin to deal with the anticipated sugar in the blood stream – otherwise known as glucose. Even though there is no spike in the blood sugar levels because you have eaten a calorie free sweetener, the body has still produced insulin which is the hormone that is responsible for making us overweight. So we have the bizarre situation that insulin has been released unnecessarily and constant pressure on the pancreas can result in the over production of insulin which in turn can give rise to unnecessary fat gain and ultimately type 2 diabetes.
The second problem is that sugar is addictive and whilst it is cheaper than the other white stuff it is just as addictive. Any diet can only work if it changes the way you eat rather than simply deprives you of food for a period of time. Replacing sugar with sweeteners will not break the dependency on sweetness in your diet and that is the very issue that needs addressed. Changing this is not easy but the affects last a lifetime and not just the length of the diet.
So when you see something sweet remember that humans were only designed to eat fruit and other sweet items seasonally and frankly as a very rare treat – not an everyday affair.

23 April 2011

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Anyone who really understands human biochemistry knows that ketogenic diets are great for weight loss and in particular ketogenic diets which are natural – and by that I mean whole food – deliver the best sustainable results.  What a lot of folk don’t really understand is how ketogenic diets are also fantastic for other metabolic disorders. 

The first group of people that could really benefit from recognition of natural ketogenic diets are the diabetics and without a great deal of work we could cut the NHS bill by several hundred million and not lose a single job.  Another less well known group who are serious beneficiaries of natural ketogenic diets are epileptics. This has been well known in the US for some years now and Meryl Streep and long been a supporter of what has been defined as revised Atkins. 

The need for dieticians to become educated in ketogenic diets is desperate as they could improve the health of numerous different patients in very real and deliverable ways.  The patients they could help range from epileptics through to diabetics and now there is research that shows that cancer patients may also have real benefits from cutting out sugar and starch.

What is hard for most people wishing to live a low carb life is the lack of natural high quality products available to them to buy. Everything today is full of either sugar or starch. Indeed we find that today many companies like M and S and other well-known trusted brands are actually developing, through third party suppliers, strawberries which are extra sweet.  Too much sweet stuff makes the human body crave more and more and so the battle to lose weight becomes harder and harder. 

And for those that fear ketogenic diets do remember that the diet which man was evolved to eat is simply a ketogenic diet which has been with us for over 150,000 years and the low fat high carb option currently recommended by HM Gov has been with us for just for 20 years during which time we have got fatter than ever before….

8 April 2011

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